The launch of Cupra in Australia won’t follow a traditional dealership model.

    Instead, it’ll rely on online sales backed by a network of what the Spanish brand is calling Cupra City Garages, staffed by Cupra Masters who’ll look after customers through their purchase.

    They’ll also look after the after sales process once customers have signed on the dotted line.

    “The people we put into the network, it’s something that is quiet important to me,” Ben Wilks, Cupra Australia brand director, told CarExpert.

    “Instead of having an approach and people that do a specific job function, we want to turn that around a bit and say that now the Cupra Master is the concierge into the Cupra world.

    “From showing you from service to demonstration, sales, delivery – all that stuff can be channelled through that person,” Mr Wilks said.

    These Cupra Masters won’t be salespeople with million-dollar smiles, but car and brand enthusiasts who get what the customer is after, according to Mr Wilks.

    “We want to have interesting people here. The bar is set rather high for the type of people that we want to get involved.

    “The product knowledge is pretty obvious, but the enthusiasm for the same things our customers have enthusiasm for is very important. The passion for design, passion for driving, that’s got to be there and I think this is so important because the people that deliver that brand experience is everything about how your brand is perceived,” Mr Wilks said.

    Cupra Masters, working at Cupra City Garages around the likes of Sydney and Melbourne, will be trained to bring a very different experience to potential customers.

    “Despite being very well-informed and having great product knowledge, we don’t want people that are uptight and pretentious. That’s not not the environment at all, enough of our competitors are doing that.

    “It’s a very natural and positive exchange about people who are positive about these products,” he said.

    “I think that’s a very important element of how we bring the brand to market and that stuff takes a bit of time to get ready, so I am glad we have a bit of time to get that ready as we want to get the customer experience right.”

    As for the Cupra City Garage, the brand will likely launch multiple at once early next year to supports its three-model lineup.

    “Idea would be that we have a brand experience centre, a Cupra City Garage, a place that you can come and touch and feel everything about the brand, everything we stand for – touch and feel the product,” Mr Wilks said.

    “It’s like walking around inside the website and having live assistance with a real person, that assisted experience.

    “We definitely want to target the bigger markets in Sydney and Melbourne. Then, in terms of Cupra Garages more generally, we want to be in and around the larger markets – but we don’t want to just start in one place, just like we are not starting with one car.

    “We want to make sure we start with a bit of scale so we can meet customers where they are. We will start with representation in multiple capital cities.”

    The Cupra Masters will have extensive product knowledge but more importantly, they will be able to find the product knowledge they might not have if the customer requires additional information.

    “What they do have to be able to do is connect customers with bits of information in a really engaging and interesting way, and guide people through the process,” Mr Wilks said.

    “There is lots of detail involved with buying a car because there is lots of areas. You need to register, insure… all of these things are a little bit complicated, and it’s reasonable to be guided through by someone that is seen as a professional by the customer.”

    Alborz Fallah

    Alborz is the founder of CarAdvice (sold to Nine and now Drive) and co-founder of CarExpert. He is an honourary adjunct professor & entrepreneur in residence at the University of QLD. He loves naturally-aspirated V8s, V10s and V12s and is in denial about the impending death of the internal combustion engine.

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